I’ve got a guest post up at Early Retirement Extreme about how by living frugally, you can spend less on government and more on priorities that better match your values. That blog is full of good information on frugality and sensible personal financial planning, but doesn’t have much of a political/activist focus, so I’ll be interested to see how this strikes the readership there. Excerpts:

As it says in Your Money Or Your Life, “when we go to our jobs we are trading our life energy for money.” When you pay taxes, the government is taking your life energy from you and using it for its own purposes, as much as if it had conscripted you and forced you to work for it directly.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend any of my life energy helping the government to commit aggressive war, torture prisoners, or threaten the world with weapons of mass destruction. I think I can be more useful to my neighbors (and better able to sleep at night) if I instead put all of my effort into more beneficial activities.

In order to make our country one we can be proud of, complaining and wishful thinking are not going to be enough. We have to put as much of our effort as we can on the side of our values, instead of allowing so much to be stolen by the tax collector and used to promote the values of politicians and the military/industrial complex.


Some bits and pieces from here and there:

  • A woman who visited Beit Sahour in 2008 reflects on how that town’s tax resistance continues to resonate.
  • Voluntary Pauperism is Vicki Robison’s term for leaving the rat race, reprioritizing, and staying under the tax line. “I decided that the only way to avoid contributing to the corruption of government as I saw it, was to not pay into the system.” She says there’s a respectable and a disrespectable way to go about it, and gives some examples.
  • The IRS sends out an enormous number of “refund” checks (something like 122 million of them last year, for instance), and all you have to do to get one is to fill out a form with the right numbers on it. To some folks, this is like setting out a huge trough of money with a little sign next to it saying “honor system.” For instance, according to “authorities” some fraudsters in Tampa, Florida, hauled in hundreds of millions of dollars this way (which is still, “just the tip of the iceberg,” say they).

    The fraud — known in street vernacular as “drops” or “Turbo Tax” after the online filing system — is so pervasive that local police say it even had an effect on street crime, temporarily reducing the numbers of street-corner drug dealers, who found it easier to make money in front of laptop computers in their homes.


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